Malian singer Rokia Traore was named goodwill ambassador of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for West and Central Africa.
Through her music, she protests against the effect of wars and economic crisis on those fleeing their homes. Her latest album titled “Né So”, meaning “home” in the Bambara language is dedicated to refugees.
“When I think about it, it gives me goose bumps, that’s what I wanted to express. In that way, it allows me to relieve myself, I keep thinking about it and I think about the kind of world we are creating,” said Traore.
She says her role with the UNHCR combined with her activism through music feels simply like the right thing to do – to have an opportunity to shine a spotlight and help in whatever way she can.
“It will take time for people to understand that there is a problem. I heard some saying it’s not our problem, but as a human being, that’s our problem.”
Traore’s album’s mood compared to those that preceded this one is darker and more personal, with quietly urgent, thoughtful songs of advice to Mali’s politicians and a rejection of violence influenced by events in her homeland.
For 14 years now, the world has been observing World Refugee Day on 20 June, reflecting on the difficulties faced by those uprooted from their homes by conflict,persecution and natural disasters.
The latest trend though is fast surpassing those reasons – migrant refugees.
In 2015 alone more than one million migrants from Africa crossed into Europe in pursuit of jobs.
The vast majority of these people, and many like them in other parts of the world are at the mercy of their host countries and aid agencies.